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Bank Of England Considering Printing More Money As UK Economy Stalls

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BANK OF ENGLAND
The Bank of England is said to be considering adding more money into the economy | Alamy

The Bank of England will seriously consider another dose of emergency money printing on Thursday if evidence emerges of a further deterioration in the economy.

Its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is widely expected to leave interest rates at their record low of 0.5% and the stock of quantitative easing at £325 billion, although the decision is set to be a close call.

However, if a closely watched survey of the important services sector released hours before members make their decision shows a contraction it could prompt the Bank to fire up its money printing presses again.

A contraction of the services sector would add weight to fears that the economy is deteriorating after the manufacturing sector suffered a shock contraction in the second biggest decline in the 20-year history of the Markit/CIPS survey.

Industry data, such as the Markit surveys, have until recently painted a much more upbeat picture of the economy than official figures, which is why last week's manufacturing data came as such a shock and a contraction in the services sector may be crucial to the Bank's decision.

Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec, believes the manufacturing decline may have unnerved the MPC but it was not "a game changer", whereas a similar trend in the services sector, which makes up some three-quarters of the economy, would be "a different story".

Simon Hayes, an analyst at Barclays Capital, said: "If the services sector PMI published on Thursday morning were to show a similarly precipitous fall, the MPC is likely to give serious consideration to a QE expansion."

Mr Hayes does not believe such a performance would be enough to press the Bank into more action. He does not expect more QE until August when he predicts a £50 billion injection.

Pressure on the Bank to implement more stimulus measures has been mounting in recent weeks after official figures showed the UK's double-dip recession was deeper than previously thought with a 0.3% fall in the first quarter of 2012.

IMF boss Christine Lagarde also called on the Bank to lower interest rates further to help the UK weather the eurozone debt crisis.

Inflation continued to fall in April, providing more leeway for a fresh money injection.

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